4 November, 2014
Controversial Crown Lands Bill withdrawn
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Dear Land Council members,
We are writing with pleasure to inform you that the NSW Government has withdrawn its controversial Crown Lands Amendment Bill that would have retrospectively extinguished almost 2000 Aboriginal land claims, some dating back as far as two decades.
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council commends the Baird Government for its leadership in withdrawing the Bill.
"Moving forward we're happy to talk to the Government, but this Bill was divisive and discriminatory and undermined Land Rights" NSW Aboriginal Land Council Chairman Craig Cromelin said.
NSWALC still holds concerns and will keep Land Councils informed about our campaigns to protect Land Rights.
"We call on the Government to respectfully deal with Land Rights and start from scratch by genuinely consulting with Aboriginal people before any changes are made to the way crown lands in NSW are managed" Chairman Cromelin said.
Withdrawal of the Bill comes a day after more than 500 Aboriginal Land Council members gathered outside Parliament House to peacefully protest against the changes.
The catalysts for the rally were the Sydney/Newcastle LALCs and Coffs Harbour LALC and NSWALC applauds their wholehearted effort in mobilising the Cultural Gathering, and NSWALC is proud to walk alongside the LALCs.
Chairman Craig Cromelin thanked all Land Council members and Land Rights supporters who attended the rally. "It means a lot to us to see such a great turnout from mob at such short notice, especially as many people travelled great distances, as well as those who sent letters, emails and tweets to protest against the Bill" he said. The rally shows the power of mob uniting for Our Land Council, Our Mob and Our Future.
Following the rally Labor, Greens and Christian Democrats MPs informed the Premier that they would oppose the Bill in the state's Upper House. "On behalf of NSWALC and the Land Rights Network, I thank in particular, Deputy Opposition Leader, Linda Burney, Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment Mick Veitch, Christian Democrats Leader Rev Fred Nile and Greens Spokesperson on Aboriginal Affairs, Jan Barham for standing with Aboriginal people to defend our rights and achieving such a fantastic outcome," Chairman Cromelin said.
NSWALC Deputy Chairperson